It is a common misconception that an ankle sprain occurs in individuals who play sports or have a fall. The fact is that ankle sprains can occur in numerous settings, and often without vigorous sports or recreational activity involved. A sprain will occur when ligaments that connect the foot bones to the ankle bones and lower leg stretch or tear. This can commonly occur when you slip and fall, trip on ice, play sports, exercise or workout; but you can also twist your ankle while getting dressed for work in the morning or cook dinner and pivot sharply to reach for something on the countertop!
The Types of Ankle Sprains
There are different types of ankle sprains:
- Inversion – When the ankle rolls outward and foot turns inward. It stretches or tears the ligaments on the outside of the ankle.
- Eversion – When the ankle rolls inward and the foot outward. It stretches or tears ligaments on the inside of the ankle.
- High Ankle Sprain – These are very rare and occur when the ligaments that join the two lower leg bones are injured.
In addition to the type, you will be graded based on the extent of tears. There are three grades for tears:
- Grade I – This is a stretch or light tear of the ligament that includes mild tenderness, some swelling and stiffness at the tear point. Your ankle will feel stable and you can usually walk with slight discomfort.
- Grade II – This is a larger, but still incomplete tear. You will have moderate pain, bruising and swelling and your ankle will feel somewhat stable. Walking on this type of sprain can be tender and painful.
- Grade III – This is a complete tear of the ligaments and you will see severe swelling and bruising in your ankle. With this tear, you cannot walk on the affected ankle due to intense pain.
Is It A Sprain?
If you have a sprain, you will usually feel immediate pain at the ankle. Often, swelling develops immediately and bruising by the next day. The area may be tender to touch and you may feel some pain while walking, or be unable to walk at all.
Do I Need an Ankle Doctor to Attend to My Sprain?
Some sprains will heal at home with ice, rest and elevation. Other times, when the sprain is more severe, you will need to see a doctor for treatment. Visit your foot clinic and see a doctor if you:
- Notice your foot bends at an abnormal angle
- You have persistent pain and swelling that does not subside for several days
- Your foot has changed colour
- Your foot or ankle area is numb or your toes have a tingling/numb sensation
- You heard popping at the time you encountered the sprain
- You cannot move your ankle
- You have severe bruising
- You cannot put any weight on the ankle or walk on it
With proper treatment, you can recover from an ankle sprain in a few days to a few weeks, depending on the severity of your ligament tear. If you have sprained your ankle, contact the experts at Comfort Stride for diagnosis and a customized treatment plan.
Seeking treatment right away can ensure your ankle heals properly and quickly. Call Comfort Stride at 647-989-7794 to make an appointment with our foot doctor.